There is no question that today’s basketball game is based on athleticism at all levels and that creates problems for players who have average or below athletic skills.
The game in the NBA and D-1 in most cases are athletic track meets on a wooden 94 foot by 50 foot rectangle track where running, jumping, quickness, leaping, 3’s and dunking dominate the game.
Athleticism is the natural ability to be able to have an excellent vertical and horizontal jump, foot speed and quickness, quick lateral movement. great hand-eye co-ordination, strength, etc. All skills that are needed to be able to perform successfully in all the running, jumping and throwing in track and field events.
Because the game at the highest levels in the NBA and D-1 College basketball relys mostly on athletes playing basketball this philosophy has trickled down to the middle and high school levels.
Great athletes playing basketball is what middle school and high school players, parents, coaches and fans see when they watch the NBA and D-1 on the tube. Most buy into that this is the way to play the game today.
Thus, very few real good basketball players without above average athleticism are developed. Players who are fundamentally sound, have high basketball IQ’s which allows them to make good basketball decisions are few and far between at the middle and high school levels here in Maine.
That is why Maine has very few potential D-1 college players. We just do not have enough population base to have enough great athletes here in Maine.
The most athletic player in Maine High School Basketball this past season was Zack Gilpin of Hampden.
Many coaches and players are “D-1 wanta be’s” and follow the lead of the NBA and D-1 teams and try to imitate their play.
Examples of basketball players playing basketball against athletes playing basketball was this year’s Wisconsin team that was out athleticized by just l point in their loss to the ATHLETICALLY TALENTED KENTUCKY WILDCATS FRESHMEN in the NCAA Final Four Semi-finals.
BUTLER TWO YEARS IN A ROW TO THE FINAL FOUR WAS ANOTHER GOOD EXAMPLE.
In the NBA the San Antonio Spurs usually have been basketball players playing basketball against athletes playing basketball since Tim Duncan arrived and they have been successful each and every year even as they have grown older each season.
This years NCAA Player of the Year was a basketball player playing basketball as he lead the nation in scoring. That was Doug McDermott of Creighton, who reminds some of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson who were basketball players playing basketball against athletes playing basketball and they were considered the best of their era as they lead their teams to NBA Titles and to an NCAA Final Four Championship Game.
How do you determine if players are relying on their basketball skills and not on their athletic skills is to just ask, if you were going to put them on a track team which running and jumping events would they be successful in?
Which running or jumping events would you put McDermott, Bird or Johnson?
Basketball players make their teammates better, they think before they act where athletes have a tendency do and then react after the act.
Basketball players play mostly from the shoulders up and athletes playing basketball play mostly from the shoulders down.
Michael Jordan struggled some in the NBA on just his great athleticism until he picked Magic’s brain and then when he
put the two together and played the game from the shoulders up first and then relied on his athleticism second. he then became the greatest player to play the game.
Middle and high school players should be taught to work hard on the fundamentals of the game and rely on playing the game from the shoulders up before they rely on any athletic skill that they may have.
But working on your game to improve fundamentally to develop a high basketball IQ to allow you to make good basketball decisions is very hard work, for both the players and the coaches. It takes time and patience, neither of which come in a bottle. Today most players want to play not work on their game.
From the 70’s on the game has become more athletic in each decade to where it is today with the game being played in most cases from the shoulders down not from the shoulders up at all levels.
Players who have high basketball IQ’s to make good basketball decisions, have great shot selection, make their teammates better, are more coachable, commit fewer turnovers, think pass first and shoot second, read the court and think before they do, have developed sound offensive and defensive fundamentals are the real basketball players playing basketball from the shoulders up and they are few and far between here in Maine.
Good decision making in basketball is the same as making good decisions in life. Both lead to success.
P.S. AND MAINERS WITH D-1 POTENTIAL HAVE TO GO TO PREP SCHOOL